Saturday, September 19, 2009


The other day I took a passport-type portrait of my brother for Amex. He needed it for a national travel agents card or something like that that will get him some killer deals on hotels, travel, and other things like that. I think it turned out pretty well. He printed them out on his home printer and it looked pretty darn good, if I say so myself. My nephew pointed out that it looks good except for the shadow on the right side of the picture. Shadow? Sure there is, but that makes the picture look more dimensional and not flat like a lot of pictures you could take with the flash pointed straight at the subject.

Anyway, if he wanted a shadow, I'll give him a shadow! I look this one the other night and purposely put the light source at a 90 degree angle to light up one side of his face. There. Now there is his shadow. I had to darken up the background a little bit during post processing--that's just what you have to do when you don't have a studio I guess. Usually, if you light up a light colored like I did in the top picture, it can get pretty white. Although I still had to lighten it up in post a tad again. If lighting interests you, check out the strobist site--it's one of my favorites and have learned a lot from it.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

European Bee-eater

Here's a picture of a football being held by my nephew. He was gracious to be a subject. Others weren't so willing tonight, that is why there are no pictures of them! After having some Mac & Cheese, we discussed their theories of science-- like what makes the waves in the ocean and the intricacies of gravity. They know more than I did at that age. Heck, they might know more than I know now. I'm still learning day by day.

For example, today I learned about a bird in parts of southern Europe, northern Africa, and western Asia that eats bees! This European Bee-eater catches bees and while holding them in its beak hits them repeatedly against a hard surface to remove the stinger. It just gulps it down after that! According to the Wikipedia page, it can eat up to 250 bees, wasps, and hornets a day. This bird is my new most favorite animal! A wildlife photographer Jerome Guillaumot took some remarkable photographs of this beautiful bird. In fact, for the past 4 years, he has been seeking out and shooting these birds (with his camera that is!). He says they are the most colorful birds from the European avifauna. They are truly breathtakingly gorgeous birds.

President Obama and the rest of Washington is worried about the economy and health care reform, but I purpose a new and urgent issue: How can we get these birds over in the states?! If wasps weren't bothering the American people at their pick nicks and outings, then people would be happier and spend more money going on more outings. This will help the economy. As for the health care issue, fewer people going to the country's hospitals for stings and swellings can't be a bad thing. Skewed as it is, that is my logic. I'm sure Amber would agree with me at least!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Worn Out

We've all felt like this before, I know I have. This picture was taken over the summer when we went to Copper Mine. I guess Spee was pretty worn out from the temple open house a few hours before. If I remember right, the whole family was there--the Texans and Utahns. I really can't think of anything else I like to do in life more than being with the people I love. Well, maybe a good snow cone... My cross country coach in High School would tell us to never stop during a race to buy a snow cone because even if we did have the correct change, they probably wouldn't have our favorite flavor. Now that is good advice to live by!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Late Summer Yellow

This time of year is quite pretty in it's own way. I mean, you don't have the bright colors of fall yet, and the greens from the spring rains are long gone, but there are some deep yellows "in dem hills" right now! There is nothing like wondering through dried yellow grass hoping your spurs don't spark on a rock to start a wild fire. Thankfully, I don't have to worry about that because I left my spurs at home. I'm kidding of course.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Giving Credit Where It's Due

BYU beats Oklahoma! I have seen a few amazing games (like the Utah game in the Sugar Bowl) in my days, but this game was simply amazing watching the Cougars beat a #3 Oklahoma team in front of a crowd of 75,000 people. Anytime a non-BCS team beats a BCS team, it is always a sweet victory. Even though ESPN and the rest of the sporting world will first mention Sam Bradford's injury and then the fact that they lost the game doesn't make it any less sweet for BYU fans. In fact they will say that the turning point of the game was right before the half when Bradford went down. I don't agree. I think it was when BYU held the Sooners to only a field goal in the 3rd quarter. That allowed Max Hall to drive down the field and throw a touchdown pass to Mckay Jacobson. If Bradford was in the whole game, would the Sooners have one? I don't know, but I do know that Oklahoma's offensive stats in the first half (with Bradford) and the second half (without their Hiesman quarterback) aren't much different. I guess you can take that for what it's worth.

Now, I don't claim to be a sports writer, or even someone that knows the game of football inside and out. However, I am a big BYU fan and I think that credit should be given where it is due. Not only should credit be given to BYU, but to the Mountain West Conference and all the other non-BCS conferences out there. Props should be given to Boise State in taking down Oregon. I hate the BCS and like I said before I thrive on non-BCS teams beating them! (Way to go Appalachian State!!) This biased inequality isn't only in college football (by the way, why do they rank college football teams before they even play a game??), I think Utah State should be given more credit for their basketball team. Whenever you focus more on money than on the sport it will take away opportunities from good teams. For example, Utah playing Florida for the college football National Championship?! Who would want to see that?! Well... I would, but I am in the minority and I can't really bring the networks the big bucks. Most of the Nation would like to see the Lakers play LeBron and the Cavaliers instead of the Jazz, but at least both the Jazz and the Lakers have an equal and fair chance to get to the finals. Such is not the case with college football... and that is sad.

Finally, the picture above is Max Hall in a game at the beginning of the 2008 season. I wasn't at tonight's game and so I couldn't take a picture, but I wanted to write about the Cougars so I had to look in my archives to find this picture. As you can see, I used a little soft focusing to make it blurry around the sides and bring out Max Hall a little more. Usually I'm not a huge fan of this because it really doesn't follow the law of optical physics unless you use a tilt-shift lens (which I don't know why I would ever want or need one). It always bugs me something that is within the field of focus is actually blurry... but whatever, it works with this picture.

1.5 Billion Dollars

I love this time of year when College Football starts back up. The anticipation, the excitement, the heartbreaks, the surprises are all part of the equation. Here is a picture of the new 1.5 Billion dollar Cowboy Stadium in Arlington, Texas where the Cougars will take on Oklahoma later on today. It will be an exciting game! This stadium is just short amazing.

The size is just breathtaking, and plus it's air conditioned so you can actually take breath! I've been in the old cowboy stadium a couple of years ago to watch the Allen High school team take on another high school. Why did they play in the Cowboy's stadium? Please see number two here. That was a very hot experience sitting in the Texas sun watching that game. Anyway, go Cougs!